Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 160, Issue 5, pp 483–490 | Cite as

Acid-base and electrolyte regulation, and haemolymph gas transport in crayfish, Astacus astacus, exposed to soft, acid water with and without aluminium

  • Frank B. Jensen
  • Hans Malte


Intermoult crayfish (Astacus astacus) were exposed to acid (pH 4), soft water ([Ca++]=100 μmol·l−1) in the absence and presence of aluminium (25 μmol·l−1) for variable time periods (up to 21 days) in order to assess the consequences for acid-base and electrolyte balance and haemolymph gas transport. Haemolymph osmolality and concentration of major ions decreased drastically and to a similar extent in acid and acid-aluminium water. Muscle tissue ion concentrations were, however, regulated at an almost constant level. A severe metabolic acidosis was gradually developed, attaining a haemolymph metabolic acid load of 6–7 mequiv·l−1 after 12–21 days. The acidosis was partially compensated by ventilatory means, with the postbranchial haemolymph PCO2 decreasing earlier in acidaluminium-exposed than in acid-exposed specimens. Hyperventilation seemed to be a direct acid-base regulatory response, since the rise in postbranchial PCO2 had only minimal influence on haemolymph O2 transport. The Bohr effect of Astacus astacus haemocyanin was low (δlog P50/GdpH=-0.24), and the mean P50 only increased from 15 to 19 mmHg after 21 days of acid exposure. The decrease in O2 affinity with decreasing pH was accompanied by a decrease in the cooperativity of O2 binding. The haemolymph haemocyanin concentration was not affected by acid and acid-aluminium exposure, but decreased after 21 days due to starvation. Muscle tissue aluminium concentrations were unaffected, whereas gill tissue concentrations increased in acid-aluminium exposed crayfish, most likely due to accumulation of aluminium on the gill surface. Mortality was low, and an internal hypoxia and lactacidosis was not developed in either of the experimental groups. This suggests that the gas transfer qualities of the chitincovered gills of crayfish are much less sensitive to acid and acid-aluminium stress than the gills of teleost fish.

Key words

Acid-base regulation Gas transport Electrolyte regulation Acid exposure Aluminium Crayfish Astacus 





saturation of Hc with O2


oxygen tension of haemolymph at 50% SO2


Hills coelficient around 50% SO2


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Angersbach D, Decker H (1978) Oxygen transport in crayfish blood: Effect of thermal acclimation and short-term fluctuations related to ventilation and cardiac performance. J Comp Physiol 123:105–112Google Scholar
  2. Appelberg M (1985) Changes in haemolymph ion concentrations of Astacus astacus L. and Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana) after exposure to low pH and aluminium. Hydrobiologia 121:19–25Google Scholar
  3. Burnett LE, Infantino RL Jr (1984) The CO2-specific sensitivity of hemocyanin oxygen affinity in the decapod crustaceans. J Exp Zool 232:59–65Google Scholar
  4. Burtin B, Massabuau JC (1988) Switch from metabolic to ventilatory compensation of extracellular pH in crayfish. J Exp Biol 137:411–420Google Scholar
  5. Cameron JN (1971) Rapid method for determination of total carbon dioxide in small blood samples. J Appl Physiol 31:632–634Google Scholar
  6. Cameron JN (1986) Acid-base equilibria in invertebrates. In: Heisler N (ed) Acid-base regulation in animals. Elsevier, Amsterdam, New York, pp 357–394Google Scholar
  7. Daye PG, Garside ET (1976) Histopathologic changes in surficial tissues of brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill), exposed to acute and chronic levels of pH. Can J Zool 54:2140–2155Google Scholar
  8. Fjeld E, Hessen DA, Roos N, Taugbøl T (1988) Changes in gill ultrastructure and haemolymph chloride concentrations in the crayfish, Astacus astacus, exposed to de-acidified aluminiumrich water. Aquaculture 72:139–150Google Scholar
  9. Fromm PO (1980) A review of some physiological and toxicological responses of freshwater fish to acid stress. Env Biol Fish 5:79–93Google Scholar
  10. Heisler N (1984) Acid-base regulation in fishes. In: Hoar WS, Randall DJ (eds) Fish physiology, vol XA. Academic Press, New York, London, pp 315–401Google Scholar
  11. Hobe H, Wood CM, McMahon BR (1984) Mechanisms of acid-base and ionoregulation in white suckers (Catostomus commersoni) in natural soft water. I. Acute exposure to low ambient pH. J Comp Physiol B 154:35–46Google Scholar
  12. Jensen FB, Weber RE (1987) Internal hypoxia-hypercapnia in tench exposed to aluminium in acid water: Effects on blood gas transport, acid-base status and electrolyte composition in arterial blood. J Exp Biol 127:427–442Google Scholar
  13. Karlsson-Norrgren L, Björklund I, Ljungberg O, Runn P (1986) Acid water and aluminium exposure: experimentally induced gill lesions in brown trout, Salmo trutta L. J Fish Dis 9:11–25Google Scholar
  14. Malte H (1986) Effects of aluminium in hard, acid water on metabolic rate, blood gas tensions and ionic status in the rainbow trout. J Fish Biol 29:187–198Google Scholar
  15. Malte H, Weber RE (1988) Respiratory stress in rainbow trout dying from aluminium exposure in soft, acid water, with or without added sodium chloride. Fish Physiol Biochem 5:249–256Google Scholar
  16. Mangum CP (1983) Oxygen transport in the blood. In: Mantel LH (ed) The biology of Crustacea, vol. 5. Academic Press, New York, pp 373–429Google Scholar
  17. McMahon BR, Wilkens JL (1983) Ventilation, perfusion, and oxygen uptake. In: Mantel LH (ed) The biology of Crustacea, vol 5. Academic Press, New York, pp 289–372Google Scholar
  18. McMahon BR, Stuart SA (1989) The physiological problems of crayfish in acid waters. In: Morris R, Taylor EW, Brown DJA, Brown JA (eds) Acid toxicity and aquatic animals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 171–199Google Scholar
  19. Morgan DO, McMahon BR (1982) Acid tolerance and effects of sublethal acid exposure on iono-regulation and acid-base status in two crayfish Procambarus clarki and Orconectes rusticus. J Exp Biol 97:241–252Google Scholar
  20. Morris S, Tyler-Jones R, Taylor EW (1986) The regulation of haemocyanin oxygen affinity during emersion of the crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes. I. An in vitro investigation of the interactive effects of calcium and L-lactate on oxygen affinity. J Exp Biol 121:315–326Google Scholar
  21. Muniz IP, Leivestad H (1980) Toxic effects of aluminium on the brown trout, Salmo trutta L. In: Drablos D, Tollan A (eds) Ecological impact of acid precipitation. Johs. Grefslie, Mysen, Norway, pp 320–321Google Scholar
  22. Patterson NE, deFur PL (1988) Ventilatory and circulatory responses of the crayfish, Procambarus clarki, to low environmental pH. Physiol Zool 61:396–406Google Scholar
  23. Truchot JP (1973) Action spécifique du dioxyde de carbone sur f'affinité pour l'oxygéne de l'hémocyanine de Carcinus maenas (L.). (Crustacé Décapode Brachyoure). CR Acad Sci (Paris) 276:2965–2968Google Scholar
  24. Truchot JP (1980) Lactate increases the oxygen affinity of crab hemocyanin. J Exp Zool 214:205–208Google Scholar
  25. Truchot JP (1987) Comparative aspects of extracellular acid-base balance. Zoophysiology, vol. 20. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 248Google Scholar
  26. Weber RE, Hagerman L (1981) Oxygen and carbon dioxide transporting qualities of hemocyanin in the hemolymph of a natant decapod Palaemon adspersus. J Comp Physiol 145:21–27Google Scholar
  27. Weber RE, Jensen FB Cox RP (1987) Analysis of teleost hemoglobin by Adair and Monod-Wyman-Changeux models. Effects of nucleoside triphosphates and pH on oxygenation of tench hemoglobin. J Comp Physiol B 157:145–152Google Scholar
  28. Wood CM (1989) The physiological problems of fish in acid waters. In: Morris R, Taylor EW, Brown DJA, Brown JA (eds) Acid toxicity and aquatic animals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 125–152Google Scholar
  29. Wood CM, Rogano MS (1986) Physiological responses to acid stress in crayfish (Orconectes): Haemolymph ions, acid-base status, and exchanges with the environment. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 43:1017–1026Google Scholar
  30. Wood CM, Playle RC, Simons BP, Goss GG, McDonald DG (1988) Blood gases, acid-base status, ions, and hematology in adult brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) under acid/aluminium exposure. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 45:1575–1586Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank B. Jensen
    • 1
  • Hans Malte
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyOdense UniversityOdense MDenmark

Personalised recommendations